In the following sentence:

The house was painted last weekend, it ..... painted for years.

should I use:

A) hasn't been, or
B) hadn't been.

This is confusing. My reasoning is as follows: Had been is used to express the earlier of two events but there is only one even "the painting" so why use it and not hasn't been to give the meaning

  • 1
    "Hadn't been" refers to the past; ie. before the house was painted last weekend. "Hasn't been" would refer to the present and so would only be appropriate if the house had not been repainted recently. – James Random Apr 13 '19 at 22:43
  • 2
    If it hasn't been painted for years, how could it have been painted last week? – Hot Licks Apr 14 '19 at 0:44

"Hadn't been" is the correct answer

If you were speaking about the situation now, you would use "hasn't been".

My bicycle hasn't been ridden for many years.

If you were speaking about the situation at a particular time in the past, referring to the entirety of time before that time, you would use "hadn't been".

When my cousin visited last week, my bicycle hadn't been ridden for many years.

(A reader would assume from the use of "hadn't been" that the arrival of your cousin led to the bicycle being ridden.)

The "first event" is the "The house was painted last weekend"

Incidentally, I think your sentence should actually be two sentences, with a "." after "weekend".

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